Lisa Nelson, PharmD BCPS, and James Forrester, MS

Two long-term Information Technology (IT) leaders have been appointed to University of Rochester Medical Center IT leadership roles. James Forrester, MS, has been named Associate Vice President of IT Technology and Chief Technology Officer, and Lisa Nelson, PharmD BCPS, has been named Associate Vice President of IT Applications and Chief Applications Officer. Working together, their combined 54 years of experience within the organization will ensure the enterprise-wide IT strategy integrates with organizational strategies for research, education, and patient care.

Nelson and Forrester took interim appointments in March 2020 to lead the IT organizations when the previous Chief Information Officer (CIO) left URMC.

“In the early months of the COVID pandemic, URMC needed strong IT leadership to get through incredibly tumultuous times,” said Adam Anolik, URMC’s Chief Financial Officer. “At that time, we were fortunate to have two capable leaders to support the organization’s COVID response while we postponed a search for a new CIO. Jim and Lisa were integral in leveraging technology solutions to support a pivoting workforce, expanding the use of telehealth, and staying up to date with rapidly changing testing and patient care requirements.”

Under their demonstrated leadership, URMC will continue to keep pace with the health care industry, an ever-evolving technology landscape, the evolving fields of academic medical education and research, and the UR Medicine health system’s future growth.

Mark B. Taubman, M.D., URMC CEO and Dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry, credits the relationships Forrester and Nelson cultivate across the organization as a key factor in their appointments.

“To build a future vision for leveraging information and technology that will drive our organization forward, it is crucial to have an intimate understanding of the needs, challenges, and aspirations that are, in key ways, unique to each of URMC’s missions,” said Taubman. “The deans and leaders of URMC’s research, education and patient care missions recognize both appointees as trusted advisors and partners who ensure each mission’s needs are met with value-driven solutions.”

Nelson and Forrester will lead the Information Systems Division (ISD) department, with more than 500 staff supporting URMC’s IT infrastructure, applications and services across the medical center’s schools and research facilities, six hospitals, long-term care facilities, home care, and more than 225 outpatient facilities.

“Applications and technology are intrinsic to how URMC’s faculty, providers and staff provide care, study, and teach,” said Anolik. “Through this IT leadership team, URMC is poised to compete in a digital-ready culture with a strategic vision that will continue to make this a preferred destination for students, educators, scientists, and the community of patients throughout the Rochester and Finger Lakes region.”

“Our goal is to exploit technology-driven opportunities to support growth and transformation throughout URMC and its affiliates,” said Forrester. “This requires that we leverage information and technology strategic assets with vigilant focus on URMC’s research, education, and patient care strategies. Strong teamwork, collaboration across the entire organization, and partnership will be the cornerstones of our success as we capitalize on those opportunities.”

“A critical part of our overall technology strategy is the applications, the tools and systems we use every day,” said Nelson. “We’ve made significant investments in our application services and must continually look ahead to guide our strategy for new opportunities to optimize and enhance the URMC experience. It is also our responsibility to ensure our existing applications are continually evaluated and updated so our faculty, staff, clinicians, and learners are able to confidently perform their work and meet the latest standards.”

Forrester joined URMC in July 1993 and has held numerous IT leadership positions with Neurology, Imaging, Cardiology, and ISD throughout his 28 years. He was named Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in 2018, responsible for URMC’s technology roadmap, architecture, and service delivery, as well as the Project Portfolio Office. He earned a Master’s of Science in Information Technology from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Nelson, who earned a Doctor of Pharmacy from the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, spent 11 years at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center before joining URMC’s Pharmacy department in 2005. She moved into Pharmacy IT in 2009 and then Pharmacy Informatics in 2014. In 2018, Nelson was appointed to a senior leadership position in ISD where she has been responsible for the planning, development, and implementation of clinical applications throughout the health system. Her teams focus largely on the clinical use of the electronic health record system, and she oversees ISD’s Enterprise Training and Supply Chain Management groups.